English musician, singer-songwriter and composer Sir James Paul McCartney, MBE, Hon RAM, FRCM celebrates his birthday on 18th June. Born in 1942 he gained worldwide fame as a member of the Beatles With John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Star, and formed one of the most celebrated songwriting partnerships of the 20th century with Lennon.The Beatles were formed when, At the age of fifteen, McCartney met Lennon and his skiffle band, the Quarrymen in 1957 andjoined the group soon thereafter, and formed a close working relationship with Lennon. Harrison joined in 1958 as lead guitarist, followed in 1960 by Lennon’s art school friend Stuart Sutcliffe on bass. By May 1960 they had tried several new names, including “Johnny and the Moondogs” and “the Silver Beetles”, They changed their name to”the Beatles” in mid-August 1960, and drummer Pete Best was recruited prior to the first of what would be five engagements in Hamburg, Germany.
The recording brought them to the attention of Brian Epstein, who became their manager in January 1962. Epstein negotiated a record contract for the group with Parlophone that May. After replacing Best with Ringo Starr in August, and releasing their first hit; “Love Me Do” in October, they became increasingly popular in the UK during 1963 and in the US in 1964. Their fans’ frenzied adulation became known as “Beatlemania”; during which McCartney was dubbed the cute Beatle. His contributions to the band’s early hits include: “I Want to Hold Your Hand” (1963); co-written with Lennon, “Can’t Buy Me Love” (1964) and “We Can Work It Out” (1965); co-written with Lennon. In 1965 the Beatles were appointed Members of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) and they recorded the McCartney composition “Yesterday”, featuring a string quartet. It was the group’s first recorded use of classical music elements in their music and their first recording that did not include more than one band member, McCartney also composed 1966 Beatles’ hits “Paperback Writer” as “a satire of pop ambition” and “Eleanor Rigby”, which included a string octet. Between 1962 and 1970 the group released twenty-two UK singles and twelve LPs, of which seventeen of the singles and eleven of the LPs became number ones. The band topped the US Billboard Hot 100 twenty times, and recorded fourteen number one albums as Lennon and McCartney became one of the most celebrated songwriting partnerships of the 20th century Before their break-up in 1970 they produced what some critics consider to be their finest material, including the innovative and widely influential albums Rubber Soul (1965), Revolver (1966), Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Beatles and Abbey Road McCartney was the primary writer of five of their last six US number one singles: “Hello, Goodbye”, “Hey Jude”, which was the band’s most successful single ever, “Get Back”, “Let It Be” and “The Long and Winding Road”.
After the break -up of The Beates in 1970 McCartney continued his musical career, releasing his first solo album, McCartney, which contained the stand-out track “Maybe I’m Amazed”, written for Linda Eastman. With the exception of some vocal contributions from her, it is a self-performed album, Paul providing all the instrumentation himself. In 1971 Paul collaborated with Linda on a second album, Ram, a UK number one which included the co-written US number one hit single, “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey”. Later that year, the pair were joined by ex-Moody Blues guitarist Denny Laine and drummer Denny Seiwell to form the group Wings, and release their first album together, Wild Life.In March 1973 Wings’ achieved their first US number one, “My Love”, included on their second LP, Red Rose Speedway, in 1973 McCartney’s collaboration with Linda and former Beatles producer George Martin resulted in the James Bond theme song and Wings hit, “Live and Let Die”. The song was nominated for an Oscar, and it earned Martin a Grammy for his orchestral arrangement.
In 1974 Wings achieved a second US number one, “Band on the Run”; the acclaimed album of the same name, their third, was a massive success that became Wings’ first platinum LP. They followed with the chart topping albums, Venus and Mars and Wings at the Speed of Sound. in November, the Wings song “Mull of Kintyre”, co-written with Laine, was fast becoming one of the best-selling singles in UK chart history. The track became The most successful single of his solo career. Wings completed their final concert tour together in 1979. Active through 1981 Wings produced seven studio albums, five of which topped the US charts, as well as their live triple LP, Wings over America, one of few live albums ever to achieve the top spot in America. They also recorded six US number one singles including, “Listen to What the Man Said”, “Silly Love Songs, “With a Little Luck”, and “Coming Up”. Wings was formally disbanded in 1981,
Since then McCartney has had a prolific solo career and has been described by Guinness World Records as the “most successful composer and recording artist of all time”, with 60 gold discs and sales of over 100 million albums and 100 million singles, and “the most successful songwriter” in UK chart history. His Beatles song “Yesterday” has been covered by over 2,200 artists—more than any other song in the history of recorded music. Wings’ 1977 release “Mull of Kintyre”, co-written with Laine, was one of the best-selling singles ever in the UK. He has written or co-written thirty-two songs that have reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and as of 2012 he has sold over 15.5 million RIAA-certified units in the United States.
McCartney has composed film scores, classical and electronic music and has released a large catalogue of songs as a solo artist. He has taken part in projects to help international charities, been an advocate for animal rights, vegetarianism and music education, campaigned against landmines and seal hunting and supported efforts such as Make Poverty History. His company MPL Communications owns the copyrights to more than 25,000 songs, including those written by Buddy Holly, as well as the publishing rights to the musicals Guys and Dolls, A Chorus Line and Grease. He is one of the UK’s wealthiest people, with an estimated fortune of £475 million in 2010.He has been married three times, and married his third wife Lady Nancy Shevell on Sunday 9th October 2011, and is the father of five children. McCartney also performed “Magical Mystery Tour”,”All My Loving” and “Let is Be” followed by a stirring version of “Live and Let Die” accompanied by some impressive pyrotechnics and “Oh-Bla-Di” at Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Concert and also played at the opening ceremony of the London Olympics.